The Paris Targets
Escalating global warming is threatening the very existence of life on our planet and must be contained. The 2015 Paris Agreement sets an absolute upper limit of 2°C on increase in global mean temperature by the end of this century. It also calls for ample efforts to limit the warming to a less risky 1.5°C. In order to make progress towards meeting these targets, countries are bound to submit emissions reduction plans called 'Nationally Determined Contributions' (NDCs) every five years. While the Agreement speaks of the ‘highest possible ambition’, and specifies that every plan must be more ambitious than the one that preceded it, there is no mechanism to ensure that these voluntary NDCs are geared towards limiting warming to 1.5°C or even 2°C. Countries announced their first NDCs in 2015; the next round is due in 2020.